Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne has appealed to police officers to use brains rather than brawn as far as possible.
On Wednesday the Serious Offences Court (SOC) was in the process of facts and sentencing for Grenadian Marvin Albert who had pleaded guilty to possession of 222 pounds of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking, as well as entering the country illegally.
During the case the defendant indicated that he needed to sit down as he was feeling unwell.
A chair was provided for him by PC614 Simon and, as requested by the court, the 25-year-old was given a mint by an officer in the court, and he was given a glass of water.
He was apparently having “bad feelings” and needed fresh air. He told the magistrate, who asked him about whether he ate, that he had had a piece of bread for breakfast.
The case was stood down so that the officer could take Albert outside the court building for a period of time.
“ I am very happy this morning that young Mr Albert has had the opportunity to see the best and the very worst of our police officers in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Albert’s lawyer Roderick Jones commented on Tuesday.
“When he was arrested he was mercilessly beaten, and then today he got the opportunity to see that our police officers can be equally gentle. So I’m glad he had that opportunity,” the counsel submitted.
The magistrate complimented PC Simon, to which the lawyer replied “I am in total agreement with you. I wish that we had more officers that have the humanity of this gentleman.”
Browne said that Simon lives by the golden rule, to do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
“He is a shining example of what police officers should aspire to be in this country,” Jones stated.
The magistrate also commented that she just doesn’t understand beating up persons.
She noted that if someone is resisting she does not have difficulty with the police using and exercising the necessary force “for their own safety, and the safety of others to bring the situation under control.”
However, “If somebody is non-resistant and compliant then I do not understand why you have to exercise force,” and brutality on occasions to persons, she said.
“What if it were a relative of yours? This could be your family, this could be you in another country,” Browne said.
She noted that persons will give them the necessary respect “from you just being humane and say ‘this is my job, I am doing my job’, ‘you are found afoul of the law and I will do my job’.”
“I have seen persons in here leaving and say ‘Alright officer, thank you,’” she noted.
Jones said that it warms his heart to hear those sentiments.
The magistrate said that this has always been her position.
“Use brains as opposed to brawn as far as possible,” she said, as this is what officers are trained to do.
Jones opined, “We just have a case where too many officers are using their uniform to abuse people in this country. And it is an indictment against the police service of St Vincent and the Grenadines…”
The magistrate said that it was not all and that there were “many, many” good officers.
“They have the few that are developing a reputation of being like that …and persons are noticing and persons are complaining and persons are speaking. Stop it.” she stated.
The following day, after sentencing was completed, the magistrate told PC Simon that while she knows he does not hit persons, if he should see this happening, to speak up and act.